How is the epidemiology of heterosexually-acquired\ud HIV infection evolving, particularly among black Africans, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?
mesheuropmc: virus diseases
In the United Kingdom (UK), an estimated 107,800 people were living with HIV in 2013, of whom 55% were heterosexual men and women. Black African men and women accounted for the majority of heterosexuals living with HIV in the UK in 2013. In this PhD by prospective publication my research question is “How is the epidemiology of heterosexually-acquired HIV infection evolving, particularly among black Africans, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?”. I conducted a quantitative analysis of national surveillance datasets and undertook literature searches. Most of my analysis was based on data from the three national HIV surveillance systems which constitute the HIV and AIDS Reporting System (New HIV Diagnoses database; Survey of Prevalent HIV Infections Diagnosed; CD4 Surveillance Scheme). I published the results of my analyses in six peer-reviewed papers between 2007 and 2014. My key findings were as follows: over the last decade an increasing proportion of black African heterosexuals born abroad but diagnosed with HIV in the UK acquired HIV whilst living in the UK; outward migration from the UK may explain why some black African heterosexuals were lost to follow-up from HIV care; the proportion of black African heterosexuals diagnosed late with HIV has not changed substantially; the uptake of HIV testing among black African heterosexuals has increased over time but remains low compared with that among MSM. To minimize the risk of HIV transmission and to maximise the benefits of earlier detection my key recommendation is to promote regular HIV testing among black African women and men in a range of healthcare and community settings in E,W&NI, particularly in primary care.